I am very thankful that this Women’s Safety event is happening at the library where I work as the Executive Director. I think this is a very important discussion for all communities to have and that the public library is the perfect host for this type of event because the public library is a safe, welcoming space in the community that is for everyone.
I hope you click here and read the Titusville Herald piece on the event. I’m very proud of Becky Stahl (Youth Services Librarian) and Jess Hilburn (Historian) for working together to make this event and this conversation happen. As they said in the article, the amount of sexual harassment, stalking, and inappropriate comments being said to people in our community has been on the rise over the last few years. These issues have been dealt with as they happen to ensure that they do not happen again. Myself and the staff at our library recently completed the Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness training by Ryan Dowd which gave us some tools and ideas on how to confront library visitors that may be agitated, upset, or causing trouble. While the name of the training looks like it was just on how to deal with homeless patrons, it was actually more of a training on understanding the different types of people you may encounter in the library and how to deal with complicated situations.
I believe that one of my jobs as the Executive Director is to ensure the safety and happiness of not only the community but also the staff. Everyone who enters this building needs to be taken care of and always feel safe when they are here or walking to and from our location. Recognizing sexual harassment, stalking, and inappropriate comments happening in the moment and doing something to fix these issues is one step. Another step is having conversations and training around these uneasy topics. We’re doing this to the best of our ability at the Benson Memorial Library in our tiny neck of the woods. I hope it catches on here.